Media Studies

The Interdiscipline of the Present and the Future

Angharad N. Valdivia

Media studies is a rapidly growing, widely relevant, and evolving field – an interdiscipline (Valdivia, 2003). While some scholars have bemoaned the loss of focus on process and effects, especially on milestone studies (DeFleur, 1998), others find the breadth and porous contours to be conducive to a worthwhile intellectual pursuit (Sterne, 2005). To be sure, between 1998 and the present, there has been a huge growth in interpretive and critical approaches, which have nonetheless flourished in the margins as the effects paradigm – the stuff of milestones – has firmly retained its central place in the field, at least in the United States and the Netherlands. Indeed, efforts to map out the diversity of the field of communication (Craig, 1999, 2001), which we might call the broader umbrella for media studies, yield a multiplicity of sometimes overlapping and other times mutually exclusive approaches. The terrain of contemporary media studies acknowledges that most of us live in intensely mediated environments, so that Livingstone (2009) writes on the mediation of everything, and Hay (2000) writes of refrigerator studies. The former expands on how media and communication are “ever more crucial in today's world” (Livingstone, 2009, p. 13), and the latter asks us – as a field over a decade ago, while continuing to encourage us (Hay, 2010, 2011) – to consider the broader web of networks to which other ...

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